World Refugee Day 2019 / by Maranie Staab

On World Refugee Day we are asked to take a moment and consider the near 70 million persons displaced worldwide.

By definition, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their home, often, but not always due to conflict. But conflict is just a sanitized and contained word for the reality of those fleeing warfare and persecution. Refugees leave the place they call home not because they want to but because, like each of us, they desire security and a chance to build a life for themselves and family.

Over the course of the past several years I’ve had the privilege of working within refugee and IDP (internally displaced) communities. I never really anticipated human displacement to become an ongoing focus but I find it’s something once experienced impossible to turn away from. Perhaps it is the pure humanity of it all. We all want to be safe. Many of us have never been in a situation where that is in question though. I think being on the ground, in front of people, fleeing the unimaginable, makes something once abstract, as real as you and I.

As a photographer the hope is always that somehow images might be able to impart even a semblance of this feeling on you, cause you to pause and reconsider what you believe and perhaps even get involved.